The AG Journey: Meet the Country Women’s Association

In Week 1 of the AG team’s brand new blog, staff writer Bridget pays a visit to the CWA, and uncovers the true spirit of community.

One of the best things about working for Australian Geographic is that it allows us to speak to a huge variety of knowledgeable and interesting people. They can be scientists, researchers, environmentalists, professors, museum curators, adventurers or nature enthusiasts. Or they’re ordinary folk who happen to have a passion for something – whether it’s their community, a cause or an organisation…

By Bridget Brennan November 7, 2013 Reading Time: 2 Minutes

One of the best things about working for Australian Geographic is that it allows us to speak to a huge variety of knowledgeable and interesting people. They can be scientists, researchers, environmentalists, professors, museum curators, adventurers or nature enthusiasts. Or they’re ordinary folk who happen to have a passion for something – whether it’s their community, a cause or an organisation.

Last week, I travelled to Brisbane to speak to some Country Women’s Association (CWA) members for an upcoming story. The women I met were very generous with their time and extraordinarily proud of the organisation they devote so much time to. CWA has been operating in Australia for more than 85 years. There’s so much more to it than tea and scones; CWA provides enormous support for Australian rural people struggling to keep going in the face of drought, job shortages and poor health and education services.

On the morning before I flew home to Sydney, I was invited to watch the Oxley CWA branch’s weekly choir practice. As the ladies performed renditions from the musical Guys and Dolls, I got an overwhelming sense that CWA is a fantastic way for these women to bond together, make friends and contribute to their local communities. I relished listening to their stories as many of the women have been members for more than 50 years and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to unearth some of the people involved in CWA – such an iconic part of country life – and share their community spirit with you.

I’m back in the office now – deciphering scribbled notes, transcribing recorded interviews and agonising over what to include in the introduction. Hopefully, the story will showcase some of the fabulous characters that we don’t often hear about in mainstream news, who quietly volunteer their time to better the lives of others.